The received wisdom about successful business online is that rankings are the most important thing – but that idea misses some key factors.
It’s not that rankings don’t matter – but they’re not the key to success that people think.
There’s a common misconception that being top-ranked on a search engine generates more income and more inquiries – but is that the smart move?
Paid advertising – Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – will charge you a lot more to be the top displayed ad than the ad two or three down from that, enough to really eat in to your margins – but the extra visits you get as the top displayed ad isn’t nearly as big an improvement, in fact it might be damaging your profits more than you realise.
In both paid and organic search results, the amount of extra effort to go from a high listing to the top listing is exponentially more difficult the higher you go. Often this not only results in excessive time, resource and money, but more importantly erodes your profit in the process.
Metrics to Watch
An important metric in digital marketing – arguably more important than rankings, which can shift much more and much more frequently – is Click-Through Rate (CTR).
What’s CTR? It’s simple – the number of times searchers click on your link (clicks) divided by the number of times your link is shown to those searchers (impressions).
Whilst CTR is affected by position, it’s mostly affected, not by where your site listing appears on the list, but how good that listing is; how appropriate the listing is to the search term used, and how enticing it seems.
It is in fact CTR, which can improve position, rather than position improving CTR, that you should aim for.
Building on Success
Search engines also monitor visitor engagement – so if the majority of your site’s visitors spend plenty of time browsing what you have to offer, sign up for your newsletter, or place an order, that’s noted in search data – and your site’s rankings will slowly improve.
Because visitors are more likely to engage if the site’s listing is clear and appropriate to their search, the same factors that improve CTR will help your rankings long-term – but they start making a difference to your bottom line immediately.
Rankings aren’t the key to success. Understand your customer and speak directly to them with text that appeals; success will build as a result of improved performance.
SYPO would like to thank Tom Lynch for this article. Tom is the Lead Copywriter with lead digital marketing specialists Novi Digital.